Tag Archives: Freaks

Almanac – February 05

1908 –  Daisy and Violet Hilton born.  Pair of English  conjoined twins or Siamese Twins who toured in the U.S. sideshow and vaudeville circuit in the 1930s, and appeared in cult film Freaks.

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1914 – William S. Burroughs born. American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be “one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century.”

His influence is considered to have affected a range of popular culture as well as literature. Burroughs wrote 18 novels and novellas, six collections of short stories and four collections of essays.He also collaborated on projects and recordings with numerous performers and musicians, and made many appearances in films.

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1941 – Banjo Paterson died.  Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales, where he spent much of his childhood. Paterson’s more notable poems include “Waltzing Matilda”, “The Man from Snowy River” and “Clancy of the Overflow”.

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Almanac – January 04

1341 – Wat Tyler born. A leader of the English Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.

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1900 – James Bond born.  American ornithologist, an expert on the birds of the Caribbean. His name was appropriated by writer Ian Fleming for his fictional spy, James Bond.

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1958 – Sputnik 1 fell  to Earth from orbit. The first artificial Earth satellite, it was a 585 mm (23 in) diameter shiny metal sphere, with four external radio antennae to broadcast radio pulses. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957. It burned up as it fell from orbit upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere, after travelling about 60 million km (37 million miles) and spending 3 months in orbit.

Its said that the launch of Sputnik 1 inspired U.S. writer Herb Caen to coin the term “beatnik”  (in an article about the Beat Generation in the San Francisco Chronicle on 2 April 1958.)

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1959 – Luna 1 became the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon. It became the first ever man-made object to reach the escape velocity of the Earth.  At a distance of 119,500 km from Earth, a large (1 kg) cloud of sodium gas was released by the spacecraft, thus making this probe also the first artificial comet. This glowing orange trail of gas, was visible over the Indian Ocean with the brightness of a sixth-magnitude star for a few minutes.  Luna 1 passed within 5995 km of the Moon’s surface on 4 January after 34 hours of flight. A malfunction in the ground-based control system caused an error in the rocket’s burntime, and the spacecraft missed the target and flew by the Moon, then became the first man-made object to reach heliocentric orbit and was then dubbed a “new planet” and renamed Mechta (“Dream”).

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1960 – Albert Camus died. French Pied-Noir author, journalist, and philosopher. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He wrote in his essay “The Rebel” that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom.

Although often cited as a proponent of existentialism, the philosophy with which Camus was associated during his own lifetime, he rejected this particular label In an interview in 1945, Camus rejected any ideological associations: “No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked…”

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1969 – Daisy and Violet Hilton died. A pair of conjoined twins or Siamese Twins who toured in the U.S. sideshow circuit in the 1930s.  They left the sideshows and went into vaudeville as “The Hilton Sisters’ Revue”. Daisy dyed her hair blonde and they began to wear different outfits so they could be told apart. They had numerous affairs, failed attempts to get a marriage license and a couple of short marriages. In 1932, the twins appeared as themselves in the film Freaks. In 1951 they starred in Chained for Life, an exploitation film loosely based on their lives.

The Hiltons’ last public appearance was in 1961 at a drive-in cinema in Charlotte, North Carolina. Their tour manager abandoned them there, and with no means of transportation or income, they were forced to take a job in a nearby grocery store.

They died victims of the Hong Kong flu. According to a forensic investigation, Daisy died first; Violet died between two and four days later.

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1986 – Phil Lynott died.  Irish singer and musician who is best known for being the founding member, principal songwriter, lead vocalist and bassist of the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy.

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Almanac – October 06

1854 –  The Great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead started shortly after midnight, leading to 53 deaths and hundreds injured.

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1914 – Thor Heyerdahl born. Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer with a background in zoology and geography. He’s best known  for his Kon-Tiki expedition, in which he sailed 8,000 km (5,000 mi) across the Pacific Ocean in a self-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands in 1947. The expedition was designed to demonstrate that ancient people could have made long sea voyages, creating contacts between apparently separate cultures.

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1946 – Millie Small born.  Jamaican singer-songwriter, probably best known for her 1964 cover version of “My Boy Lollipop”, (originally  by Barbie Gaye in late 1956.) Released in March 1964,  Small’s cover was a massive hit, reaching number two both in the UK  and US Singles Charts.

“My Boy Lollipop” was doubly significant in British pop music history, as it was the first major hit for Island Records, although it was actually released via Fontana Records because Chris Blackwell, Island’s owner, did not want to overextend the label’s then-meagre resources; and Small was the first artist to have a UK hit that was recorded in the bluebeat style. 

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1962 – Tod Browning died. American motion picture actor, director and screenwriter, his  career spanned the silent and talkie eras. Best known as the director of the now- lost early vampire film London After Midnight (1927),  Dracula (1931), the cult classic Freaks (1932), and classic silent film collaborations with Lon Chaney, Browning directed many movies in a wide range of genres. His  final film was the murder mystery Miracles For Sale (1939).

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Almanac – July 12th

1789 – French revolutionary and radical journalist Camille Desmoulins gave a speech in response to the dismissal of Jacques Necker,  France’s finance minister, the day before. The speech called the citizens to arms and led to the Storming of the Bastille two days later.

1880 – Birth of  Tod Browning, American film director responisble for the cult classic Freaks and one of the most sought after lost films – and early example of the vampire genre –  London After Midnight.

1947 – Birth of Loren Coleman, American cryptozoologist and author.

1948 – Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion ordered the explusion of Palestinians from the towns of Lod and Ramla.

1962 – The Rolling Stones live debut, at the Marquee Club, London.

1971 – The Australian Aboriginal flag was flown for the first time. The  flag represents Indigenous Australians and was designed in 1971 by Aboriginal artist Harold Thomas, who is descended from the Luritja people of Central Australia.  The flag was originally designed for the land rights movement, and it became a symbol of the Aboriginal people, and it looks like this –

 

 

1973 –  Death of Lon Chaney, Jr., American actor.

 

Mr. Frankenstein

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